The European Water Association (EWA) has released a manifesto highlighting the critical importance of water in Europe. Entitled "EWA Water Manifesto: The Strategic Value of Water," this comprehensive document emphasizes the need to prioritize water management, access, and sustainability in European policies.
Water, as the foundation of all life, plays a pivotal role in Europe, impacting human health, biodiversity, and the strategic autonomy of the European Union. Furthermore, water is an essential resource for multiple economic sectors. EWA highlights the challenges posed by increasing economic activities and investments in Europe, leading to heightened competition for water access and consequent water scarcity in several regions. This scarcity has negatively affected daily life, as well as food and energy production, prompting the call for a more integrated and comprehensive approach to water management.
The European Water Association calls for the following key actions:
- Recognition of Water's Importance: Integration of water into all relevant EU policies.
- Strengthening Europe's Competitiveness: Preservation of water resources and ensuring access to high-quality water.
- Investment Support: Improvement of EU funds availability to finance vital water-related investments alongside contributions from water tariffs.
EWA also supports the concept of an "EU Blue Deal," which addresses access to water, the geopolitics of water, sustainable water management, and the economic aspects of such a deal for the EU. The European Water Association underlines the importance of a long-term vision for the water sector and society, focusing on providing high-quality water resources, balancing water demand with availability, and ensuring fair resource sharing. They stress that climate change makes recognizing water's vital role more relevant than ever.
EWA's key calls for action include:
- EU Blue Deal Implementation: To address water-related challenges.
- Balancing Water Demand and Availability: Ensuring equitable access to water.
In addition, the manifesto highlights the urgent need to address the aging water and wastewater infrastructure in Europe. Delaying essential investments in these areas can result in expensive and dangerous system failures, leading to resource loss, water crises, and floods. Adapting infrastructure to meet the challenges of climate change is an ongoing struggle, as water management must account for changing weather patterns. Sustainable water management can also help mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
EWA's recommendations are:
- Stakeholder Contributions: Encouraging all stakeholders to participate in covering future costs.
- Water Access Assurance: Securing access to water through relevant investments.
- Infrastructure Resilience: Significantly improving the maintenance and resilience of existing infrastructure.
In summary, the EWA Water Manifesto underscores the vital significance of water in Europe and provides a comprehensive roadmap for sustainable water management. The European Water Association urges civil society and all relevant stakeholders to actively engage in implementing these solutions, fostering an ongoing dialogue between decision-makers and national and regional authorities.